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The Legal Challenges of Sexual Harassment in the Modern Workplace

It seems you can’t open a newspaper or watch a television news show today without seeing coverage of a sexual harassment case. At Procopio, we’ve assisted many employers who have faced employee complaints of sexual harassment. Fortunately, there are many steps an employer can take to navigate such situations to both comply with the law and improve employee relations. But it’s worth noting that while many news items we hear about sound salacious — as if taken from a script of the TV show “Mad Men”—many workplace sexual harassment claims today involve far more nuanced and subtle behavior by the alleged harasser. These situations are far more challenging to navigate for employers.

Let me paint a picture by describing “Roger,” a fictional individual compiled from the subjects of several investigations I’ve conducted over the years. As a senior executive at a successful company, Roger was masterful at masking his behavior to appear innocuous and socially acceptable. Described as charismatic and friendly by many, he nonetheless was perceived as sexually predatory with some saying he behaved like a “frat boy”and others describing him as a “creep.” Is such behavior unlawful?

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